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Friday, June 6, 2003

  • The hammers just keep pounding
  • National health informatics network
  • Two gold medals for literary magazine
  • As we come to a summer weekend
Chris Redmond

Shavuot, 'the feast of the weeks'

[SLC from the south]

Above eye level, work is in progress to add office, lounge and student services space on a third level of the Student Life Centre.

The hammers just keep pounding

Walls and roofs are rising all over campus, UW's board of governors was reminded this week as its building and properties committee presented a brief "Construction Update".

"The University has a significant number of construction projects underway," the report said.

"The four SuperBuild projects remain on schedule, with both the Coutts Lecture Hall addition and the Tatham Centre (Cooperative Education) now fully operational, and both the Centre for Environmental & Information Technology and the Engineering III addition in their final stages of completion in time for September occupancy.

"The additions to the Student Life Centre and Columbia Icefields, which are funded through students' fees approved in an undergraduate referendum, are in the process of being enclosed and we remain optimistic that occupancy in September remains achievable.

"Construction of the new townhouse complex on the North Campus has commenced with the first phase of 90 units planned for January 2004.

"The Research & Technology Park servicing has progressed on schedule, with approximately 70% of the 120 acre site now serviced. Construction of the first tenant building (Marsland/Sybase) is expected to begin in late May or early June. An RFP will be issued shortly for the construction of a multi-tenant facility which will also house the Accelerator Centre, and negotiations are underway for another single-tenant building.

"There are also many smaller projects in progress including numerous alterations and building maintenance."

And the board of governors approved the calling of tenders for a $4.25 million wing to be added on the north side of Matthews Hall.

[On the blue water]

Team Ruckus is this dragon boat team, sponsored by UW's alumni affairs office and including 14 Waterloo alumni among its 21 members. Co-coaches are Dave Huck, seen facing the camera, and Mike Bluhm of the registrar's office. Riding high above the number 5 is team member Christina Heydorn, BES 2001. Team Ruckus will be racing tomorrow in the Cambridge Waterfront Festival, and again June 21-22 at the Toronto International Dragon Boat Festival.

National health informatics network -- from the UW media relations office

A group of universities -- including UW -- plus health information associations and companies have announced a first-of-its-kind knowledge management and collaborative e-learning platform for health informatics to serve the health system and educational institutions across Canada.

A prototype will be ready in July, with completion expected in December. The project, called the Pan-Canadian Health Informatics Collaboratory, will improve knowledge sharing and standards among health informatics professionals, and create an innovative new nationwide e-learning system for students in health informatics. The system will allow educational content from institutions across the country to be shared and reused, or tailored for new purposes.

"Health informatics has grown as a vital area of expertise, as the recognition of the value of electronic information continues to grow," said Dominic Covvey, who holds a research chair in health informatics at Waterloo. For health systems around the world, health informatics is critical to increasing efficiency, and improving the monitoring and evaluation of the performance of institutions, but the real goal is better health care.

Based on Open Text's Livelink collaboration and knowledge management software, the system will serve as a knowledge repository of educational content and information for health informatics professionals, educators and students. The repository will contain a wide range of information, including documents, educational materials and course modules; images, graphs and models; and audio and video content. The system will incorporate metadata and search capabilities to classify and organize educational content, and make it easily searchable and accessible.

The collaborative e-learning features will allow professors and students to interact within and between organizations, giving students an opportunity to take advantage of courses at other institutions. The platform will allow professors to tap the wide range of materials in the knowledge repository and assemble the content they need to create customized courses for students.

The project is funded by the universities and companies involved and by Canada's Advanced Internet Development Organization (CANARIE).

  • Cunningham 'downplays university crunch'
  • Alliance seeks to boost Toronto-area research
  • Guelph's Macdonald Institute marking its 100th
  • WestGrid links computers at eight institutions
  • New federal funding for astronomy announced at UW
  • Shortage of student jobs in information technology
  • Alberta to reshape its post-secondary system
  • Manley calls for federal education ministry
  • Fees limit access (CAUT Bulletin)
  • Design on this year's 'brass rat' from MIT
  • Two gold medals for literary magazine -- a news release from St. Jerome's University

    The New Quarterly, a literary magazine published out of St. Jerome's University, has just won the Gold Medal for Fiction and the Gold Medal for Poetry at the National Magazine Awards, beating out better-heeled magazines like Toronto Life. "We're thrilled," says editor Kim Jernigan, "though really it's our writers who've won."

    The fiction award went to Anne Fleming of Vancouver for the wonderfully titled "Gay Dwarves of America" and the poetry to Alison Pick of St. John's for a suite of poems called "Question & Answer."

    Fleming was a student at UW in the early 80's, and her story contains many local references. In an interview accompanying the story she says, "This story didn't start with a phrase but an idea: Two architecture (later Urban Planning) students are up late in the studio and are getting giddy the way you do in the middle of the night when you've been working 18 hours a day for three weeks. One of them is a bit of a slacker and cruises the Internet finding unlikely sites. They toss around ideas for web sites and one of them they find so funny they decide to set up a site of their own: Gay Dwarves Of America."

    Fleming says she got the first inkling that she might be a writer when she won the Thomas York Memorial Writing Contest as an undergraduate. New Quarterly editor Peter Hinchcliffe was an adjudicator. She asked him whether he thought she should submit the story to TNQ. "No," he said, "you're not ready, but keep writing." Seven years later the magazine published "Pool Hopping", which went on to be the title story in her Governor General's nominated first collection.

    Pick grew up in Kitchener-Waterloo. Her poems are an homage to other poets: each takes as its starting point a question put in a poem by another poet and then attempts to answer it: "How is one to speak with the dead?", "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" She earlier won the Bronwen Wallace Memorial Award for poetry, an award given to a writer under the age of 35 and as yet unpublished in book form. But unpublished no longer! Her first collection, Question & Answer, came out with Raincoast Books in the spring.

    Jernigan says it's a particularly gratifying time for the magazine to have made a clean sweep of the awards. "Two years ago we were without a home, struggling with what to us seemed an insurmountable deficit. We thought, after twenty years, we might have to dismantle the magazine. But there were people who believed in us. St. Jerome's, though desperately squeezed for space, offered us an office; our first ever board was willing to take a chance on a foundering operation and brought new energy and optimism; the dean of arts, despite a 5% across the board budget cut, managed to restore our stipend to the previous level by taking out an ad. It's been really nice to let these people know their faith was justified."

    Commuter Challenge winding up

    All it takes is one day of getting to work or study without the car. That's the idea of the the Commuter Challenge Canada, which is winding up at the end of the week.

    Staff, faculty and students who accept the challenge and try walking, biking or busing are then invited to register on-line -- or, if the web site isn't cooperating, e-mail plcook@uwaterloo.ca and register that way.

    Why reduce the use of cars? Patti Cook, UW's waste management coordinator, quotes an answer: "Climate change, or global warming, is caused mainly by burning fossil fuels (coal, oil, gasoline, and natural gas). . . . Temperatures rise, the climate is destabilized, and our health and the health of the global ecosystem is in danger.

    "The Commuter Challenge is a way to get people out of their cars and trying something new. It is healthier personally through exercise and for everyone through reduction in car emissions."

    As we come to a summer weekend

    Apologies, first of all, for a mistake in yesterday's Daily Bulletin. Talking about the proposed through "e-learning", I said the pilot project would be running for a week, with the introductory meeting June 9 and the wrap-up June 16. In fact, it's a five-week project, and the wrap-up isn't until July 16. Today's the day for volunteers to come forward (phone ext. 2078).

    I also erred in saying that the graduate students who are presenting their research work this morning have necessarily "completed" the Certificate in University Teaching program. "The research paper is part of the Certificate requirement, specifically GS 902," Verna Keller of the teaching resource office reminds me. "The paper is presented as part of the requirements, not after they have completed the certificate."

    Thirdly, in an interesting example of spelling by ear, I referred to the CHIP as the "Computer Health and Information Place". Uh, that should be "help", not "health", although I had e-mail from one reader suggesting that computer health isn't such a bad idea.

    As for today, the sun is shining, which is great for the kids from UW's four child care centres. They'll be holding their annual outdoor "festival" this morning, starting at 9;45 on the field beside the Student Life Centre. A highlight will be music by children's entertainer Erick Traplin.

    Palestine Week continues, today with information displays (10:00 to 4:00), Palestinian music, and the movie "Gaza Strip" in the Student Life Centre. The week is co-sponsored by several groups, including one called Students For Palestinian Rights that I think has not been heard from before. However, its web site notes that it "was formed in 2002 to raise awareness among UW students and the larger community about the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the effects of the illegal occupation of Palestinian territories on the lives of ordinary Palestinians."

    In the Tatham Centre today: Employer interviews continue for co-op students in most programs. Students in the teaching option are holding "acceptance of employment" meetings following yesterday's job match. Architecture students planning to take part in interviews for fall term jobs should hand in their resumé package to the dropoff bin today.

    [Bowers] A retirement party is planned today for psychology professor Pat Bowers (left). "Campus colleagues and friends are invited," a memo tells us, "to join a group of faculty, staff, students and alumni who will gather to celebrate a splendid 35-year career." The reception runs from 4 to 6 p.m. at the University Club.

    SEDS ( Students for the Exploration and Development of Space) is having a movie night this evening: "From 7:00 to 11:00 we'll be showing 'Spaceballs' and 'Contact' in POETS," says SEDS vice-president Andrew Milne, referring to the POETS pub in Carl Pollock Hall. "Admission is free to members; memberships are available beforehand ($5 for undergrads, $8 for grads). SEDS is a student-run group promoting space exploration and organizing activities and projects on and off campus."

    It's dance recital season. "Let's Dance" has the Humanities Theatre tonight (one performance) and tomorrow (afternoon and evening performances); Sunday, it's taken over for rehearsals by "Dance Adventure", and there are more dance schools coming in for pretty much the rest of the month.

    The annual Ontario Women's Conference, sponsored by the United Church of Canada, takes place this weekend, based in the Ron Eydt Village conference centre. The theme this year is "Seeking and Celebrating Together", and the roughly 300 participants will be attending sessions on such topics as "Environmental Advocacy in a Christian Context" and "Experiencing the Chartres Labyrinth", not to mention tai chi, "flow writing", music, dance, and teddy-bear craft. Saturday night entertainment will be provided by Vinnick, Sheppard and Harte.

    Wilfrid Laurier University is holding its spring convocation this weekend, with one session today and two tomorrow in Waterloo, followed by a ceremony Tuesday at the Brantford campus. Honorary degree recipients in Waterloo include historian and civil servant Tom Axworthy, Research In Motion executive James Balsillie, international trade official Donald Campbell, and acoustic musician Russell Johnson. In Brantford, WLU will give an honorary degree to Thomas Hill, director of the Woodland Cultural Centre, a major museum of Native culture.

    A staff association group is making a wine tour to St. Thomas and Elgin County tomorrow. . . . Electrical power will be turned off in the Physics building Monday morning from 7:30 to 8:30, and people there are advised to turn off their computers before they leave work today. . . .


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